First Advisor

Rodriguez, Katrina

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The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the experiences of 12 self-identified well doctoral students at a mid-size, western university in the U.S. to develop an understanding of the positive approaches doctoral students take to their academic pursuits. With an attrition rate of up to 50 percent in doctoral education, exploring areas of success through the lens of wellness may contribute to retention efforts. Data were collected through two semi-structured individual interviews and two journal entries yielding descriptions of the participants' personal and academic backgrounds, as well as their views of and experiences with wellness. The themes that emerged from the participants include: the negative narrative of doctoral studies, remaining well through non-academic and academic challenges, structural and interpersonal components of doctoral education and their influence on wellness, students' conscious approach to wellness, and how participants will pursue wellness following graduation. Implications for future research and recommendations for student and academic affairs leadership, faculty, and current and future doctoral students are presented.

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Academic Affairs Leadership; Higher Education Administration; Wellness; Doctoral Students; Qualitative Case Studies


214 pages

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